• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

An Evaluation on the Biological Theories of Crime

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

An Evaluation on the Biological Theories of Crime The biological theories of crime are based on the nature versus nurture debate. Are we born criminals or do we learn crime? The main objective of these theories is: 'Does the way you look say that you are a criminal?' Lombroso (1876) introduced the first theory. This theory proposes the following three points: You have an innate predisposition towards criminal behaviour. In other words crime is something you are born to do. Your physiognomy - the way you are going to turn out by the way you look. We as 'normal' humans are termed as Homo Sapiens. Criminals are thought to be 'retarded'; therefore they are termed as Homo Deliquens. Lombroso stated that criminals (homo delinquens) exhibit the following physical characteristics: A narrow sloping brow symbolizing low intellect High cheekbones and large ears Extra nipples, fingers or toes A renowned jaw symbolizing strong passion Lombroso had also stated that these criminals behaved in a different way to everyone else. ...read more.

Middle

They may have been subjected to crime at a young age because they may have had a parent who took drugs or smoked and if there was no money to buy the drugs then they would be made to steal in order to get the money. A strong criticism of Lombroso's theory was that it encouraged stereotyping. This, in turn, would then encourage prejudice and discrimination. For example if children are shown a picture of a man with tattoos, they will indicate a negative attribution towards the picture rather than to a picture of a man without tattoos (tattoos on a man are known to be a good indicator of being a criminal). Yet, the only problem with stereotyping is that there is no strong evidence to prove it and that the research methods used were defective. It has also been criticised on methodological grounds: A proper control group was not used The criminal samples contained mostly mentally disturbed people However, Lombroso's theory proved to useful because he challenged the idea that criminals are wicked or that they choose to be criminals. ...read more.

Conclusion

Any follow up studies have produced inconsistent results, therefore unreliable. The study underestimates the effects of environmental influences on our behaviour. More objective criteria can make the differences between the groups decrease. However, the delinquents are shown to be more mesomorphic than non-delinquents. There are alternative explanations towards Sheldon's findings. They are as follows: The reason for their muscular body type is that mesomorphs who commit crime may be occupied with heavy manual labour as a result of their poverty. An inclination towards crime may have been reinforced if muscular people realise that they can use their additional strength to control other people and achieve anything they want in life very quickly and ahead of time. The police may respond in a different manner to tough looking people rather than people who look weak and this would therefore lead to more negative judgments of tough people. The major problem of both these theories is that they both believed that correlations imply causalities when in actual fact this is not true because this could be due to poverty. Word Count: 1,000 Amritpal Saund Psychology ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Sociological Theories on Crime and Deviance

    Postmodernist theories have been criticised on a theoretical level. Biological theories stress the importance of PMS in the causation of some female violent crime. This suggests that postmodern feminists only offer a partial view on crime and deviance. Symbolic Interactionism Whereas functionalist and conflict theories are macrosociological theories, certain microsociological

  2. What have theories of deviance added to our understanding of crime? Why are there ...

    Albert Kohen (1965) produces an important alternative theory, criticising Merton's overemphasis on the individual's adaptations, and his failure to bring this strand together with reference group theory, when an individual's goal attainment is likely to be relative to the attainment of others.

  1. Assess the right realist view that crime is the result of biological rational factors ...

    Unlike the right wing conservatives, they believe that people should pay the amount of tax they can afford so some people may end up paying more than others. They also believe that society needs the welfare state because it acts as a safety net to catch those who need it in society such as the disabled.

  2. Two biological explantions of criminality

    to one offence, lots of crimes are down to opportunists therefore they may be petty. When evaluating the effectiveness of the experiments there are so many other influences and variables that could play a crucial part that appear not to of been taken into consideration such as sample bias men

  1. anti-social behaviour

    method was used; these were questionnaires and interviews, as they are considered useful in developing the approach to this study. This was done because; firstly different methods can be used for different purposes in a study. In addition, it allows the use of different data collection methods to be used

  2. "Deviance is normal" - In what sense is this true?

    Early sociologist such as Lombroso explanations on deviance were scientifically "based on the premise that criminals can somehow be scientifically differentiated from non criminals" Sociology in Focus pg 466. In addition many other sociologist such as Broca a French anthropologist (pg124 Giddens)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work